After Ha Long Bay we headed straight back to the Hanoi Airport where we got on an hour flight to Da Nang. Dan Nang is centrally located in Viet Nam making it a perfect checkpoint between the North and the South. Nevertheless, we didn’t stay in Da Nang long, instead our new guide and bus driver met us at the airport to take us to the UNESCO recognized World Heritage Site, Old Town of Hoi An.
Our travel group spent 2 half days and one night on La Vela Premium Cruise boat (1 day in Ha Long Bay rhymes better than 2 half days :)).
Before we arrived I’ve looked at some pictures of Ha Long Bay, and while the photos online looked amazing, over the course of our trip in Viet Nam I became convinced that there is no comparison to experiencing something first hand – in person. For some reason mine, and most other photos I’ve seen online of Ha Long, came out gray and gloomy, but in person we actually had a beautiful sunny day! I am not sure how to explain it, there must be some mystical fog.
We arrived on Monday afternoon, and were loaded onto a small boat, which took us to our cruise boat docked nearby. We were greeted with a wet hand towel (just like everywhere else we went, which was awesome since we were constantly sweating) and a refreshing drink.
After checking into our rooms, we were served a buffet lunch and set sail along the bay. There are almost 2,000 islands in the bay. Their legend is a bit cheesy, being that they are a product of a dragon, but their history is truly amazing. I just remember gazing at each island we passed and analyzing the shapes, the vegetation, the layers of descending water, the birds… And this was even before I listened to the A Short History of Nearly Everything. I’ve never cared too much for geology, but this place has certainly sparked my curiosity.
Our tour group of 24 people arrived to Viet Nam from Houston on June 11th in the afternoon. After a 36 hour journey we took a nap, had dinner, and had only one night to rest up and prepare for an eventful day in Hanoi – the capital! Writing this post, I am amazed how much was accomplished in 1 day with such a large group! If we could do it, you can definitely explore Hanoi in 1 day! It was my first time traveling with a tour group through a travel agency and I definitely have gained new appreciation for having a travel MC to keep everyone worry free and on the schedule.
I had to change the format of this post a bit just to be able to fit in all the pictures. This is just part 1 of my Asia travel stories, so keep an eye for more posts and pictures coming soon!